Touraine's wine reputation is primarily based on vineyards around the communes of Oisly and Thesee on the north bank of the Cher where soils are light and sandy and you are likely to find vines nestled alongside commercial plantings of asparagus and strawberries. On the south bank vineyards are planted on a plateau of clay, limestone and silex. It is from here that one can find some of the better and longer-lived wines, such as those of Jean-Christophe Mandard.
Ex technical director for The Ricard Wine Group out of Paris, Jean-Christophe inherited his father's estate in 1993 and moved his family to the sleepy hamlet of Mareuil-sur-Cher. The fourth generation of his family to work the Domaine's 17 hectares of vineyard located on a plateau above the village. Jean-Christophe makes a range of different varieties, 10 in fact: - 4 white grape varieties: Sauvignon, Chenin, Orbois and Chardonnay; - 6 red grape varieties: Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Cot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Pineau d'Aunis. His strength, however, lies in the purity and freshness of his hand harvested old vine Sauvignon Blanc. Jean-Christophe says the deep clay soil avoids the heaviness and loss of aroma which can affect water-stressed sandier soils north of the river.
Jean-Christophe's Touraine Brut is made from 100% old vine Orbois and is a Roche-Mere favorite.